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Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team Poised for Powerful MX2 Title Campaign

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team Poised for Powerful MX2 Title Campaign

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2’s title protagonists, Jago Geerts, Thibault Benistant and Rick Elzinga, are revved up for the opening round of the 2023 FIM Motocross World Championship that will kick-off at the spectacular Patagonia Race Track in Villa La Angostura, Argentina this weekend.

Aiming to extend Yamaha’s three-year win streak in the MX2 Manufacturer’s World Championship, reigning World Champions, Yamaha, and the team will be on the hunt for individual and Manufacturer’s title success. 

Long-time Yamaha riders Geerts and Benistant arrive in Argentina with a combined total of 38 race wins, 17 Grand Prix wins and 49 podiums between them, making the dynamic duo firm title favourites in 2023.  

Geerts, a proven title contender with three MX2 Championship silver medals and one bronze to his credit, has reached the age limit of 23 in MX2, and is determined to win the title in his final attempt. On paper, the Belgian is the man to beat; however, his title hopes will not be without a challenge from teammate Benistant, who has secured both the EMX125 and EMX250 championship titles during his ten-year tenure with Yamaha.

Coming off an impressive pre-season campaign, Benistant, 21, enters his third season in MX2 excited to ride a completely new track. The ‘198’ missed MXGP's post-pandemic return to Argentina last year through injury but has enjoyed his first trip to South America so far and looks forward to lining up as one of only three riders with Grand Prix winning experience in 2023. 

Also making the trip south of the equator for the first time in his career, Elzinga, 22, hopes to put his intense winter prep to the test. Like Benistant, Elzinga has worked his way up the Yamaha Racing pyramid with podium finishes in EMX125, aboard a YZ125, and a stellar EMX250 title campaign aboard a GYTR-kitted YZ250F in which he celebrated four round wins, five race wins, and six podium finishes on his way to the crown last season. 

As the reigning European EMX250 Champion, Elzinga has earned his place on Yamaha’s works MX2 team for his first full season as a Grand Prix racer and has taken full advantage of Yamaha’s elite training program. Having put in the work throughout the winter, both in terms of physical fitness and bike set-up, the Dutchman is excited for the new challenge and hopes that he can show his full potential throughout the season.  

This weekend, the Patagonia Race Track, a venue that has hosted six MXGP rounds since its introduction in 2015, will also see the start of a new era with Championship Points being awarded to the top 10 finishers in the Qualifying Race on Saturday for the first time ever. The rider that wins the Qualifying Race will earn 10 points; second place gets 9 points, third gets 8, and so on. 

The first opportunity for the riders to go out on track will be on Saturday (11th March), starting with MX2 Free Practice at 10:45 followed by MXGP Free Practice at 11:15. Gates will drop for the points paying Qualifying Races at 15:25 (MX2) and 16:10 (MXGP).  Jago Geerts will also feature as a guest on the free to view LIVE Studio Show on at 12:00. All timings are local (GMT – 3).

Jago Geerts

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Rider

“I started the off-season strong with everything going well, but I had a small set-back in January when I got sick and could not train exactly how I wanted to. Since then, I have done all that I can to recover strong, and I’m feeling pretty good now. Going into Argentina. I am looking forward to it. I won a race there last year, so it’s a track I like. My goal is to have a solid GP and build from there.” 

Thibault Benistant

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Rider

“My winter was good.  I started riding a bit late, but still had enough time. I feel good on the bike, we did some testing and made a few small setting changes, and this has worked well. I did some pre-season races that were good, I enjoyed it a lot. I feel ready. My goal for the first race in Argentina is not necessarily to win, but to make a good start and fight for the podium to put good points on the board.”

Rick Elzinga

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Rider

“The off-season felt long. I had two viruses last year, so I had to take two months off at the end of last season to recover properly. When I could resume training, it was obvious to me that I was quite far behind in terms of physical fitness compared to training partners, Thibault (Benistant), Maxime (Renaux) and Glenn (Coldenhoff). But I feel fortunate to have had Yamaha and the team behind me, pushing me hard to get to where I should be. Setting up the YZ250FM was easy. I had a good base set up really quick, so I felt good on the bike basically straight away. This weekend, I just want to start the season strong and use the time to adjust to the new format where I need to be solid for six sessions on track in a weekend. I’ll keep these things in mind, but I also want to get a good start and run with the top guys. I’ve only seen Argentina from the couch, so I can’t wait to ride here for the first time!”